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June 17 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1960 premiere of 'The Mighty Casey'

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Jun 17, 2018

Today, June 17th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1960 premiere of "The Mighty Casey."

Jack Warden stars in this baseball-themed episode as Mouth McGarry, manager of the woeful Hoboken Zephyrs, a major league baseball equivalent of the Bad News Bears. They're really awful, until Dr. Stillman (Abraham Sofaer) shows up with his protégé: Casey (Robert Sorrells), a fire-balling pitcher who's also a robot.

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Perpetually interested in the future and the possibility that machines could literally run the world, Rod Serling wrote "The Mighty Casey," where a robot pitcher arrives to help the woeful Hoboken Zephyrs. 

Serling was a baseball fan, and he must have loved that 1951 classic Angels in the Outfield as he originally cast its star Paul Douglas as the lead in "The Mighty Casey." Douglas' character in Angels is named Guffy McGovern and was the inspiration for Mouth McGarry.

Unfortunately, Douglas was not well when he made his Zone debut and died shortly after filming. When Serling and producer Buck Houghton looked at the footage, they realized it was unusable – so they recast the role, at Serling's own expense, with Warden.

Robert Sorrells, so sweet-natured as Casey, later had a drinking problem and in 2004 walked into a Simi Valley, California bar and shot and killed one patron and seriously wounded another. He's currently serving 32 years to life in prison.

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Mouth McGarry's (Jack Warden, center) character was based on the character of Guffy McGovern, portrayed by Paul Douglas in the original Angels in the Outfield. Paul Douglas was cast in "The MIghty Casey," but he was replaced by Warden when the former's footage was deemed unusable.

So let's hoist a ballpark beer to an episode that was born under a bad sign but still delivers those fast balls and a few curves on that perpetuating diamond we call The Twilight Zone.